U.S. Bank and the Country Music Association brought The CMA Songwriter Series to Cincinnati’s Memorial Hall in Over the Rhine on May 2nd, 2018, and I was privileged with the opportunity to be in attendance.
Sara Evans, Eric Paslay, Rob Hatch, and Trent Harmon spent a little over two hours performing and discussing songs they’ve written for themselves as well as songs they’ve written for other artists.
Eric Paslay is a seasoned writer with multiple hits to his credit, including, “She doesn’t love you,” “Friday Night,” “High Class,” and a Grammy nomination for his collaboration with Dierks Bentley and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum for, “The Driver.” In his signature black baseball cap and sport coat, he performed an excellent rendition of, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” which he had written for Jake Owen, which went to Billboard’s #1 on the country charts. His ability to engage the crowd and his talent on vocals and guitar flowed effortlessly. “She doesn’t love you” was an excellent example of his passion for songwriting and performing. His latest single “Young Forever” was just released and has been well received by critics and fans alike.
Rob Hatch gave an astonishing performance of “I Don’t Dance” which he penned for Lee Brice and was an instant hit. His other credits include “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” originally written for Rhett Atkins, and then for Justin Moore, “Goodnight Kiss” for Randy Houser, and “Hard to be cool” for Joe Nichols.
Sara Evans’ beautiful voice is matched by her ability to write catchy upbeat tunes like “Suds in the Bucket,” and powerful tear jerking ballads like “Three Chords and the Truth.” Her latest album Wordsthat was released in her own label, comes critically acclaimed and is well deserved.
Trent Harmon, the youngest of the group was the winner of season 15 of American Idol. He performed “There’s a Girl,” which was the first song he wrote and released after his American Idol success, and “You Got ‘Em All,” which is his first single off of his debut album with the same name that comes out at the end of this month. His vocals were top notch as you’d expect, but underneath, he is an excellent songwriter with a bright future.
All in all, this was a great show at a great place, with great entertainers. The up close and personal show was a great experience, and I’d definitely recommend all these artists.